The True “New Beginning”
The holiday of New Years always inspires people to think of new beginnings. It inspires dreams of better times ahead, while trying to forget the bad things that have happened over the course of the last year. It’s a time when people consider change in their lives. It’s a mark on a man-made calendar that provides an excellent starting point for self-examination and correction. It comes around every year at the same time, and to many it represents a chance to start again and get things right. Unfortunately, it does not take long until reality sets in and we realize its back to business as usual. We encounter the same temptations, desires, problems, and monotonous life a few weeks after New Years that we did a few weeks before. It is still a day of hope for many, and that in its self is a good thing that has its benefits.
There was a day in history, however, that truly did mark a new beginning. This new beginning and new hope was not based on any resolution of man. This day was according to the divine plan of God (Eph. 1:4-9, take some time to read it). This was the day that God allowed His Son to die on the cross so that everyone would have true hope. Not a hope based on our self-will or ability, but instead on the hope we have from the one Man who did everything perfectly right. The cross of Christ was the new beginning the whole world needed, and it will continue to be until He returns in His glory.
Resolutions are a good thing. We should all strive to overcome bad habits, treat one another better, be better parents, better employees, and live healthier lives. But, many of us make these resolutions while looking to the wrong source for our strength to carry them out. We have to remember where the source of all the bad habits, strained relationships, and problems of life come from. Sin! Sin is at the root of every problem that every human being on this planet suffers from. We may be able to overcome the bad habits and problems at times, but the root of the problem is still always lurking in the background waiting to show its ugly face. New Years may serve as a source of inspiration to some, but to truly find the peace we need to deal with life’s problems we need to immerse ourselves in what the cross of Christ represents. Paul struggled with problems and issues just like we do, but he knew the power that could carry him through. He said, “I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13,14). “In Christ” is where the root of the problem is dealt with.
Christ defeated the sin problem. Christ went straight to the root of all the planet’s problems and struck a deathblow to sin and the wicked Devil who introduced it to the world. Jesus gave us all a chance at a real new beginning. Does this mean all our problems will cease? Does this mean we should not try to improve our lives and use opportunities like New Years to examine ourselves and do better? Obviously not, but it does mean that the source of our hope does not have to be ourselves or any other fallen man. When we die with Christ on that cross (Rom 6:3-11), we begin our new life with Him. With all our weaknesses and all our problems, we can now walk through this life knowing that we have been forgiven and say like Paul, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). Because of what He did on the cross, we can enter into a relationship with Him where our imperfect lives will be represented by His perfect and obedient life. Christ did what Adam did not do. Christ did what none of us could ever do. When we enter “into Christ” we “put on Christ” (Gal. 3:27) and gain access to everything that He did. Resolutions are good, but they will never make us what we truly need to be. If we are to be resolved to do anything great this New Year, let’s be resolved to stay “in Christ” where we can be what God has always wanted us to be from the beginning. -Ed